Over the years we all collect things
- usually not intentionally - things just, sort of,
gather about us. Things that have passed their usefulness.
Yet most of us are not strong willed enough to discard
until, perhaps, a house move forces a 'red' out, or
things pile up so much that a good clear out is the
studies the Family Bible
Names written in this heirloom go back to
Not so in Sam
Carrothers' case, for the family has not moved
from the Carrybridge area near Lisbellaw, Fermanagh
for - wait for it - nine generations. Lisbellaw
is about seven miles east of Enniskillen. The
Carrothers Clan came from the north side of
the Scottish borders c1618 at the time of the
Plantation. But these were not Planters but
Reivers, and their move here was more a question
of being "shipped out" of Scotland rather than
arriving here as the Landed Gentry. No, they
came not as landlords, but tenant farmers. However,
they were also artisans and brought with them
the skill of carpentry. A skill which incidentally
has passed down the generations, for Sam makes
wonderful wooden farm gates which, although
utilitarian, are jointed and bolted in a most
artistic and craftsman-like way. Sam sells these
gates to the local farmers.
In nine generations you can collect a huge amount
of "things" and from this statement you'll probably
assume the Carrothers' farmstead is coming down with
a clatter of disorganised papers and junk. Not so.
For Sam has an insatiable appetite for history, particularly
local history (He was chairman of the local history
society for several years) So to help his research,
all these precious family papers, drawings, photos,
stamps, certificates, postcards etc. are meticulously
arranged in albums.
And there are hundreds
of artifacts too, carefully preserved in boxes
and glass fronted cupboards, such as this 1700's
rush light used in the Farnagh farm kitchen'
There's also the iron cannon ball used by generations
of Carrothers children pretending to be shot
Gary Russell - February '08
What fantastic memories you must be able to conjour up
Sam, not just your own, but things that have been passed
to you by word of mouth and all the history you and your
family have compiled.
I have an interest in Lisbellaw.
I am from Liverpool, but my mum is from Lisbellaw and
I spent the happiest times of my life there during summer
holidays on my uncles small holding.
I remember warm sunny days on the loughside at Magiures
Bridge, having to go the well for water, parafin lamps
to light the cottage- it was only in the late 60's.
Being a city boy it was a culture shock for me, but I loved
every minute of it and would love to go back one day.
Sam, I wonder if you ever heard this little poem?
My uncle George used to say it to me and it's stayed
in my head:
In Lisneskea they drink the tea,
Maguires Bridge for brandy,
In Lisbellaw they chew the straw,
and Enniskellens dandy.
Hope your keeping well Sam,
Thanks for stirring up so many memories for me, You take
care of you and yours, Gary.
John Runningwolf - Feb '08
Some years ago, I helped Sam identify the locale of a
map engraved on a powder horn. I have lost his e-mail address,
and I would like to contact him . I kept all the photos
of the horn and of Sam and his home, but I have lost the
sketch of the map from the horn. It happens that another
person has contacted me about another powder horn engraved
with a map of the same general area, but obviously of a
different time, yet still in old Cherokee days.
If Sam reads this or anyone who knows Sam personally reads
it, I would like to hear from him. I can also send him
a photo of the present powder horn.